Data Dictionary: Census 1990
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Survey: Census 1990
Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: P124. Poverty Status In 1989 By Race Of Householder By Family Type And Presence And Age Of Children [203]
Universe: Families
Table Details
P124. Poverty Status In 1989 By Race Of Householder By Family Type And Presence And Age Of Children
Universe: Families
Variable Label
P124_001
P124_002
P124_003
P124_004
P124_005
P124_006
P124_007
P124_008
P124_009
P124_010
P124_011
P124_012
P124_013
P124_014
P124_015
P124_016
P124_017
P124_018
P124_019
P124_020
P124_021
P124_022
P124_023
P124_024
P124_025
P124_026
P124_027
P124_028
P124_029
P124_030
P124_031
P124_032
P124_033
P124_034
P124_035
P124_036
P124_037
P124_038
P124_039
P124_040
P124_041
P124_042
P124_043
P124_044
P124_045
P124_046
P124_047
P124_048
P124_049
P124_050
P124_051
P124_052
P124_053
P124_054
P124_055
P124_056
P124_057
P124_058
P124_059
P124_060
P124_061
P124_062
P124_063
P124_064
P124_065
P124_066
P124_067
P124_068
P124_069
P124_070
P124_071
P124_072
P124_073
P124_074
P124_075
P124_076
P124_077
P124_078
P124_079
P124_080
P124_081
P124_082
P124_083
P124_084
P124_085
P124_086
P124_087
P124_088
P124_089
P124_090
P124_091
P124_092
P124_093
P124_094
P124_095
P124_096
P124_097
P124_098
P124_099
P124_100
P124_101
P124_102
P124_103
P124_104
P124_105
P124_106
P124_107
P124_108
P124_109
P124_110
P124_111
P124_112
P124_113
P124_114
P124_115
P124_116
P124_117
P124_118
P124_119
P124_120
P124_121
P124_122
P124_123
P124_124
P124_125
P124_126
P124_127
P124_128
P124_129
P124_130
P124_131
P124_132
P124_133
P124_134
P124_135
P124_136
P124_137
P124_138
P124_139
P124_140
P124_141
P124_142
P124_143
P124_144
P124_145
P124_146
P124_147
P124_148
P124_149
P124_150
P124_151
P124_152
P124_153
P124_154
P124_155
P124_156
P124_157
P124_158
P124_159
P124_160
P124_161
P124_162
P124_163
P124_164
P124_165
P124_166
P124_167
P124_168
P124_169
P124_170
P124_171
P124_172
P124_173
P124_174
P124_175
P124_176
P124_177
P124_178
P124_179
P124_180
P124_181
P124_182
P124_183
P124_184
P124_185
P124_186
P124_187
P124_188
P124_189
P124_190
P124_191
P124_192
P124_193
P124_194
P124_195
P124_196
P124_197
P124_198
P124_199
P124_200
P124_201
P124_202
P124_203
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 3 on CD-ROM [machine-readable data files] / prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.
 
Poverty Status in 1989
The data on poverty status were derived from answers to the same questions as the income data, questionnaire items 32 and 33. (For more information, see the discussion under "Income in 1989.") Poverty statistics presented in census publications were based on a definition originated by the Social Security Administration in 1964 and subsequently modified by Federal interagency committees in 1969 and 1980 and prescribed by the Office of Management and Budget in Directive 14 as the standard to be used by Federal agencies for statistical purposes.

At the core of this definition was the 1961 economy food plan, the least costly of four nutritionally adequate food plans designed by the Department of Agriculture. It was determined from the Agriculture Department's 1955 survey of food consumption that families of three or more persons spend approximately one-third of their income on food; hence, the poverty level for these families was set at three times the cost of the economy food plan. For smaller families and persons living alone, the cost of the economy food plan was multiplied by factors that were slightly higher to compensate for the relatively larger fixed expenses for these smaller households.

The income cutoffs used by the Census Bureau to determine the poverty status of families and unrelated individuals included a set of 48 thresholds arranged in a two-dimensional matrix consisting of family size (from one person to nine or more persons) cross-classified by presence and number of family members under 18 years old (from no children present to eight or more children present). Unrelated individuals and two-person families were further differentiated by age of the householder (under 65 years old and 65 years old and over).

The total income of each family or unrelated individual in the sample was tested against the appropriate poverty threshold to determine the poverty status of that family or unrelated individual. If the total income was less than the corresponding cutoff, the family or unrelated individual was classified as "below the poverty level." The number of persons below the poverty level was the sum of the number of persons in families with incomes below the poverty level and the number of unrelated individuals with incomes below the poverty level.

The poverty thresholds are revised annually to allow for changes in the cost of living as reflected in the Consumer Price Index. The average poverty threshold for a family of four persons was $12,674 in 1989. (For more information, see table A below.) Poverty thresholds were applied on a national basis and were not adjusted for regional, State or local variations in the cost of living. For a detailed discussion of the poverty definition, see U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P-60, No. 171, Poverty in the United States: 1988 and 1989.

Table A Poverty Thresholds in 1989 by Size of Family and Number of Related Children Under 18 Years
  Related children under 18 years
Size of Family Unit Weight average thresholds None One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight or more
One person (unrelated individual) $6,310                  
Under 65 years 6,451 $6,451                
65 years and over 5,947 5,947                
Two persons 8,076                  
Householder under 65 years 8,343 8,303 $8,547              
Householder 65 years and                    
over 7,501 7,495 8,515              
Three persons 9,885 9,699 9,981 $9,990            
Four persons 12,674 12,790 12,999 12,575 $12,619          
Five persons 14,990 15,424 15,648 15,169 14,798 $14,572        
Six persons 16,921 17,740 17,811 17,444 17,092 16,569 $16,259      
Seven persons 19,162 20,412 20,540 20,101 19,794 19,224 18,558 $17,828    
Fight persons 21,328 22,830 23,031 22,617 22,253 21,738 21,084 20,403 $20,230  
Nine or more persons 25,480 27,463 27,596 27,229 26,921 26,415 25,719 25,089 24,933 $23,973


Persons for Whom Poverty Status is Determined
Poverty status was determined for all persons except institutionalized persons, persons in military group quarters and in college dormitories, and unrelated individuals under 15 years old. These groups also were excluded from the denominator when calculating poverty rates.

Specified Poverty Levels
Since the poverty levels currently in use by the Federal Government do not meet all the needs of data users, some of the data are presented for alternate levels. These specified poverty levels are obtained by multiplying the income cutoffs at the poverty level by the appropriate factor. For example, the average income cutoff at 125 percent of poverty level was $15,843 ($12,674 x 1.25) in 1989 for a family of four persons.

Weighted Average Thresholds at the Poverty Level
The average thresholds shown in the first column of table A are weighted by the presence and number of children. For example, the weighted average threshold for a given family size is obtained by multiplying the threshold for each presence and number of children category within the given family size by the number of families in that category. These products are then aggregated across the entire range of presence and number of children categories, and the aggregate is divided by the total number of families in the group to yield the weighted average threshold at the poverty level for that family size.

Since the basic thresholds used to determine the poverty status of families and unrelated individuals are applied to all families and unrelated individuals, the weighted average poverty thresholds are derived using all families and unrelated individuals rather than just those classified as being below the poverty level. To obtain the weighted poverty thresholds for families and unrelated individuals below alternate poverty levels, the weighted thresholds shown in table A may be multiplied directly by the appropriate factor. The weighted average thresholds presented in the table are based on the March 1990 Current Population Survey. However, these thresholds would not differ significantly from those based on the 1990 census.

Income Deficit
Represents the difference between the total income of families and unrelated individuals below the poverty level and their respective poverty thresholds. In computing the income deficit, families reporting a net income loss are assigned zero dollars and for such cases the deficit is equal to the poverty threshold.

This measure provided an estimate of the amount which would be required to raise the incomes of all poor families and unrelated individuals to their respective poverty thresholds. The income deficit is thus a measure of the degree of impoverishment of a family or unrelated individual. However, caution must be used in comparing the average deficits of families with different characteristics. Apparent differences in average income deficits may, to some extent, be a function of differences in family size.

Mean Income Deficit
Represents the amount obtained by dividing the total income deficit of a group below the poverty level by the number of families (or unrelated individuals) in that group.

Comparability
The poverty definition used in the 1990 and 1980 censuses differed slightly from the one used in the 1970 census. Three technical modifications were made to the definition used in the 1970 census as described below:
  1. The separate thresholds for families with a female householder with no husband present and all other families were eliminated. For the 1980 and 1990 censuses, the weighted average of the poverty thresholds for these two types of families was applied to all types of families, regardless of the sex of the householder.
  2. Farm families and farm unrelated individuals no longer had a set of poverty thresholds that were lower than the thresholds applied to nonfarm families and unrelated individuals. The farm thresholds were 85 percent of the corresponding levels for nonfarm families in the 1970 census. The same thresholds were applied to all families and unrelated individuals regardless of residence in 1980 and 1990.
  3. The thresholds by size of family were extended from seven or more persons in 1970 to nine or more persons in 1980 and 1990.
These changes resulted in a minimal increase in the number of poor at the national level. For a complete discussion of these modifications and their impact, see the Current Population Reports, Series P-60, No. 133.

The population covered in the poverty statistics derived from the 1980 and 1990 censuses was essentially the same as in the 1970 census. The only difference was that in 1980 and 1990, unrelated individuals under 15 years old were excluded from the poverty universe, while in 1970, only those under 14 years old were excluded. The poverty data from the 1960 census excluded all persons in group quarters and included all unrelated individuals regardless of age. It was unlikely that these differences in population coverage would have had significant impact when comparing the poverty data for persons since the 1960 censuses.

Current Population Survey
Because of differences in the questionnaires and data collection procedures, estimates of the number of persons below the poverty level by various characteristics from the 1990 census may differ from those reported in the March 1990 Current Population Survey.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 3 on CD-ROM [machine-readable data files] / prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.
 
Race
The data on race were derived from answers to questionnaire item 4, which was asked of all persons. The concept of race as used by the Census Bureau reflects self-identification; it does not denote any clear-cut scientific definition of biological stock. The data for race represent self-classification by people according to the race with which they most closely identify. Furthermore, it is recognized that the categories of the race item include both racial and national origin or socio-cultural groups.

During direct interviews conducted by enumerators, if a person could not provide a single response to the race question, he or she was asked to select, based on self-identification, the group which best described his or her racial identity. If a person could not provide a single race response, the race of the mother was used. If a single race response could not be provided for the person's mother, the first race reported by the person was used. In all cases where occupied housing units, households, or families are classified by race, the race of the householder was used.

The racial classification used by the Census Bureau generally adheres to the guidelines in Federal Statistical Directive No. 15, issued by the Office of Management and Budget, which provides standards on ethnic and racial categories for statistical reporting to be used by all Federal agencies. The racial categories used in the 1990 census data products are provided below.

Includes persons who indicated their race as "White" or reported entries such as Canadian, German, Italian, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish.

Includes persons who indicated their race as "Black or Negro" or reported entries such as African American, Afro-American, Black Puerto Rican, Jamaican, Nigerian, West Indian, or Haitian.

American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut
Includes persons who classified themselves as such in one of the specific race categories identified below.

American Indian
Includes persons who indicated their race as "American Indian," entered the name of an Indian tribe, or reported such entries as Canadian Indian, French-American Indian, or Spanish-American Indian.

American Indian Tribe
Persons who identified themselves as American Indian were asked to report their enrolled or principal tribe. Therefore, tribal data in tabulations reflect the written tribal entries reported on the questionnaires. Some of the entries (for example, Iroquois, Sioux, Colorado River, and Flathead) represent nations or reservations.
The information on tribe is based on self-identification and therefore does not reflect any designation of Federally- or State-recognized tribe. Information on American Indian tribes is presented in summary tape files and special data products. The information is derived from the American Indian Detailed Tribal Classification List for the 1990 census. The classification list represents all tribes, bands, and clans that had a specified number of American Indians reported on the census questionnaire.

Eskimo
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Eskimo" or reported entries such as Arctic Slope, Inupiat, and Yupik.

Includes persons who indicated their race as "Aleut" or reported entries such as Alutiiq, Egegik, and Pribilovian.

Asian or Pacific Islander
Includes persons who reported in one of the Asian or Pacific Islander groups listed on the questionnaire or who provided write-in responses such as Thai, Nepali, or Tongan. A more detailed listing of the groups comprising the Asian or Pacific Islander population is presented in figure 2 below. In some data products, information is presented separately for the Asian population and the Pacific Islander population.

Includes "Chinese," "Filipino," "Japanese," "Asian Indian," "Korean," "Vietnamese," and "Other Asian." In some tables, "Other Asian" may not be shown separately, but is included in the total Asian population.

Chinese
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Chinese" or who identified themselves as Cantonese, Tibetan, or Chinese American. In standard census reports, persons who reported as "Taiwanese" or "Formosan" are included here with Chinese. In special reports on the Asian or Pacific Islander population, information on persons who identified themselves as Taiwanese are shown separately.

Filipino
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Filipino" or reported entries such as Philipino, Philipine, or Filipino American.

Japanese
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Japanese" and persons who identified themselves as Nipponese or Japanese American.

Asian Indian
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Asian Indian" and persons who identified themselves as Bengalese, Bharat, Dravidian, East Indian, or Goanese.

Korean
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Korean" and persons who identified themselves as Korean American.

Vietnamese
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Vietnamese" and persons who identified themselves as Vietnamese American.

Cambodian
Includes persons who provided a write-in response such as Cambodian or Cambodia.
Includes persons who provided a write-in response such as Hmong, Laohmong, or Mong.
Laotian
Includes persons who provided a write-in response such as Laotian, Laos, or Lao.
Includes persons who provided a write-in response such as Thai, Thailand, or Siamese.
Other Asian
Includes persons who provided a write-in response of Bangladeshi, Burmese, Indonesian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Amerasian, or Eurasian. See figure 2 for other groups comprising "Other Asian."
Pacific Islander
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Pacific Islander" by classifying themselves into one of the following groups or identifying themselves as one of the Pacific Islander cultural groups of Polynesian, Micronesian, or Melanesian.

Hawaiian
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Hawaiian" as well as persons who identified themselves as Part Hawaiian or Native Hawaiian. Samoan--Includes persons who indicated their race as "Samoan" or persons who identified themselves as American Samoan or Western Samoan.

Guamanian
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Guamanian" or persons who identified themselves as Chamorro or Guam. Other Pacific Islander--Includes persons who provided a write-in response of a Pacific Islander group such as Tahitian, Northern Mariana Islander, Palauan, Fijian, or a cultural group such as Polynesian, Micronesian, or Melanesian. See figure 2 for other groups comprising "Other Pacific Islander."

Other Race
Includes all other persons not included in the "White," "Black," "American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut," and the "Asian or Pacific Islander" race categories described above. Persons reporting in the "Other race" category and providing write-in entries such as multiracial, multiethnic, mixed, interracial, Wesort, or a Spanish/Hispanic origin group (such as Mexican, Cuban, or Puerto Rican) are included here.

Written entries to three categories on the race item--"Indian (Amer.)," "Other Asian or Pacific Islander (API)," and "Other race"--were reviewed, edited, and coded by subject matter specialists. (For more information on the coding operation, see the section below that discusses "Comparability.")

The written entries under "Indian (Amer.)" and "Other Asian or Pacific Islander (API)" were reviewed and coded during 100-percent processing of the 1990 census questionnaires. A substantial portion of the entries for the "Other race" category also were reviewed, edited, and coded during the 100-percent processing. The remaining entries under "Other race" underwent review and coding during sample processing. Most of the written entries reviewed and coded during sample processing were those indicating Hispanic origin such as Mexican, Cuban, or Puerto Rican.

If the race entry for a member of a household was missing on the questionnaire, race was assigned based upon the reported entries of race by other household members using specific rules of precedence of household relationship. For example, if race was missing for the daughter of the householder, then the race of her mother (as female householder or female spouse) would be assigned. If there was no female householder or spouse in the household, the daughter would be assigned her father's (male householder) race. If race was not reported for anyone in the household, the race of a householder in a previously processed household was assigned. This procedure is a variation of the general imputation procedures described in Appendix C, Accuracy of the Data.

Limitation of the Data
In the 1980 census, a relatively high proportion (20 percent) of American Indians did not report any tribal entry in the race item. Evaluation of the pre-census tests indicated that changes made for the 1990 race item should improve the reporting of tribes in the rural areas (especially on reservations) for the 1990 census. The results for urban areas were inconclusive. Also, the precensus tests indicated that there may be overreporting of the Cherokee tribe. An evaluation of 1980 census data showed overreporting of Cherokee in urban areas or areas where the number of American Indians was sparse.

In the 1990 census, respondents sometimes did not fill in a circle or filled the "Other race" circle and wrote in a response, such as Arab, Polish, or African American in the shared write-in box for "Other race" and "Other API" responses. During the automated coding process, these responses were edited and assigned to the appropriate racial designation. Also, some Hispanic origin persons did not fill in a circle, but provided entries such as Mexican or Puerto Rican. These persons were classified in the "Other race" category during the coding and editing process. There may be some minor differences between sample data and 100- percent data because sample processing included additional edits not included in the 100-percent processing.

Figure 2. Asian or Pacific Islander Groups Reported in the 1990 Census
Asian Pacific Islander
Chinese Hawaiian
Filipino Samoan
Japanese Guamanian
Asian Indian Other Pacific Islander[1]
Korean   Carolinian
Vietnamese   Fijian
Cambodian   Kosraean [3]
Hmong   Melanesian
Laotian   Micronesian [3]
Thai   Northern Mariana Islander
Other Asian [1]   Palauan
  Bangladeshi   Papua Now Guinean
  Bhutanese   Ponapean (Pohnpeian)
  Borneo   Polynesian
  Burmese   Solomon Islander
  Celebesian   Tahitian
  Ceram   Tarawa Islander
  Indochinese   Tokelauan
  Indonesian   Tongan
  Iwo-Jiman   Trukese (Chuukese)
  Javanese   Yapese
  Malayan   Pacific Islander, not speclied
  Maldivian
  Nepali
  Okinawan
  Pakistani
  Sikkim
  Singaporean
  Sri Lankan
  Sumatran
  Asian, not specified


(1)In some data products, specific groups listed under "Other Asian" or "Other Pacific Islander" are shown separately. Groups not shown are tabulated as "All other Asian" or "All other Pacific Islander," respectively.
(2)Includes entries such as Asian American, Asian, Asiatic, Amerasian, and Eurasian.
(3)Polynesian, Micronesian, and Melanesian are Pacific Islander cultural groups.

Comparability
Differences between the 1990 census and earlier censuses affect the comparability of data for certain racial groups and American Indian tribes. The 1990 census was the first census to undertake, on a 100- percent basis, an automated review, edit, and coding operation for written responses to the race item. The automated coding system used in the 1990 census greatly reduced the potential for error associated with a clerical review. Specialists with a thorough knowledge of the race subject matter reviewed, edited, coded, and resolved inconsistent or incomplete responses. In the 1980 census, there was only a limited clerical review of the race responses on the 100-percent forms with a full clerical review conducted only on the sample questionnaires.

Another major difference between the 1990 and preceding censuses is the handling of the write-in responses for the Asian or Pacific Islander populations. In addition to the nine Asian or Pacific Islander categories shown on the questionnaire under the spanner "Asian or Pacific Islander (API)," the 1990 census race item provided a new residual category, "Other API," for Asian or Pacific Islander persons who did not report in one of the listed Asian or Pacific Islander groups. During the coding operation, write-in responses for "Other API" were reviewed, coded, and assigned to the appropriate classification. For example, in 1990, a write-in entry of Laotian, Thai, or Javanese is classified as "Other Asian," while a write-in entry of Tongan or Fijian is classified as "Other Pacific Islander." In the 1990 census, these persons were able to identify as "Other API" in both the 100-percent and sample operations.

In the 1980 census, the nine Asian or Pacific Islander groups were also listed separately. However, persons not belonging to these nine groups wrote in their specific racial group under the "Other" race category. Persons with a written entry such as Laotian, Thai, or Tongan, were tabulated and published as "Other race" in the 100- percent processing operation in 1980, but were reclassified as "Other Asian and Pacific Islander" in 1980 sample tabulations. In 1980 special reports on the Asian or Pacific Islander populations, data were shown separately for "Other Asian" and "Other Pacific Islander."

The 1970 questionnaire did not have separate race categories for Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Samoan, and Guamanian. These persons indicated their race in the "Other" category and later, through the editing process, were assigned to a specific group. For example, in 1970, Asian Indians were reclassified as "White," while Vietnamese, Guamanians, and Samoans were included in the "Other" category.

Another difference between 1990 and preceding censuses is the approach taken when persons of Spanish/Hispanic origin did not report in a specific race category but reported as "Other race" or "Other." These persons commonly provided a write-in entry such as Mexican, Venezuelan, or Latino. In the 1990 and 1980 censuses, these entries remained in the "Other race" or "Other" category, respectively. In the 1970 census, most of these persons were included in the "White" category.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 3 on CD-ROM [machine-readable data files] / prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.
 
Householder
The data on relationship to householder were derived from answers to questionnaire item 2, which was asked of all persons in housing units. One person in each household is designated as the householder. In most cases, this is the person, or one of the persons, in whose name the home is owned, being bought, or rented and who is listed in column 1 of the census questionnaire. If there is no such person in the household, any adult household member 15 years old and over could be designated as the householder.

Households are classified by type according to the sex of the householder and the presence of relatives. Two types of householders are distinguished: a family householder and a nonfamily householder. A family householder is a householder living with one or more persons related to him or her by birth, marriage, or adoption. The householder and all persons in the household related to him or her are family members. A nonfamily householder is a householder living alone or with nonrelatives only.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 3 on CD-ROM [machine-readable data files] / prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.
 
Family Type
A family consists of a householder and one or more other persons living in the same household who are related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption. All persons in a household who are related to the householder are regarded as members of his or her family. A household can contain only one family for purposes of census tabulations. Not all households contain families since a household may comprise a group of unrelated persons or one person living alone.

Families are classified by type as either a "married-couple family" or "other family" according to the sex of the householder and the presence of relatives. The data on family type are based on answers to questions on sex and relationship which were asked on a 100-percent basis.

Married-Couple Family
A family in which the householder and his or her spouse are enumerated as members of the same household.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 3 on CD-ROM [machine-readable data files] / prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.
 
Age
The data on age were derived from answers to questionnaire item 5, which was asked of all persons. The age classification is based on the age of the person in complete years as of April 1, 1990. The age response in question 5a was used normally to represent a person's age. However, when the age response was unacceptable or unavailable, a person's age was derived from an acceptable year-of-birth response in question 5b.

Data on age are used to determine the applicability of other questions for a person and to classify other characteristics in census tabulations. Age data are needed to interpret most social and economic characteristics used to plan and examine many programs and policies. Therefore, age is tabulated by single years of age and by many different groupings, such as 5-year age groups.

Some tabulations are shown by the age of the householder. These data were derived from the age responses for each householder. (For more information on householder, see the discussion under "Household Type and Relationship.")

Median Age
This measure divides the age distribution into two equal parts: one-half of the cases falling below the median value and one-half above the value. Generally, median age is computed on the basis of more detailed age intervals than are shown in some census publications; thus, a median based on a less detailed distribution may differ slightly from a corresponding median for the same population based on a more detailed distribution. (For more information on medians, see the discussion under "Derived Measures.")

Limitation of the Data
Counts in 1970 and 1980 for persons 100 years old and over were substantially overstated. Improvements were made in the questionnaire design, in the allocation procedures, and to the respondent instruction guide to attempt to minimize this problem for the 1990 census.

Review of detailed 1990 census information indicated that respondents tended to provide their age as of the date of completion of the questionnaire, not their age as of April 1, 1990. In addition, there may have been a tendency for respondents to round their age up if they were close to having a birthday. It is likely that approximately 10 percent of persons in most age groups are actually 1 year younger. For most single years of age, the misstatements are largely offsetting. The problem is most pronounced at age 0 because persons lost to age 1 may not have been fully offset by the inclusion of babies born after April 1, 1990, and because there may have been more rounding up to age 1 to avoid reporting age as 0 years. (Age in complete months was not collected for infants under age 1.)

The reporting of age 1 year older than age on April 1, 1990, is likely to have been greater in areas where the census data were collected later in 1990. The magnitude of this problem was much less in the three previous censuses where age was typically derived from respondent data on year of birth and quarter of birth. (For more information on the design of the age question, see the section below that discusses "Comparability.")

Comparability
Age data have been collected in every census. For the first time since 1950, the 1990 data are not available by quarter year of age. This change was made so that coded information could be obtained for both age and year of birth. In each census since 1940, the age of a person was assigned when it was not reported. In censuses before 1940, with the exception of 1880, persons of unknown age were shown as a separate category. Since 1960, assignment of unknown age has been performed by a general procedure described as "imputation." The specific procedures for imputing age have been different in each census. (For more information on imputation, see Appendix C, Accuracy of the Data.)

Excerpt from: Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 3 on CD-ROM [machine-readable data files] / prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.
 
Child
Includes a son or daughter by birth, a stepchild, or adopted child of the householder, regardless of the child's age or marital status. The category excludes sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, and foster children.